Morocco

So much has happened since I was last here, but in a nutshell… Sal returned to Australia to sadly farewell a very special lady, meanwhile I did two weeks (of predominantly donkey time) in Spain, Sal came back, I crashed Betsy in the rain in Lisbon (no injuries), and then we came to Morocco.

Also in there was a day of maintenance on Betsy in Lisbon, where I finally cured a persistent chatter in the clutch and can now proudly say that we have complete Bike Zen.  Can you feel the excitement?  I’m excited.  Really excited.

putting the new (second hand) clutch in Betsy, thanks KTM Lisbon for the workshop space!

Armed with new found Bike Zen we decided to skip the Algarve in Portugal (it was getting too cold to spend time on the beach), and make tracks for Morocco.  After a couple of months kicking around Europe (e.g. hanging out in brightly lit bars frequented mostly by old ladies) this was an exciting prospect.

We took a couple of days to ride to the coast, camped close to the ferry terminal in Tarifa and then found ourselves looking at Africa again with more than a bit of enthusiasm.  Well… I was enthused and Sally was doing her usual routine of appearing not very excited, but deep down, really deep down, where no one could actually see, somewhere below the sub cockle area, Sal was excited too.


looking at Africa again

We bought tickets that landed us around midday and then headed straight to a town called Chefchaouen, famous for it’s blue buildings and centuries old medina (an old walled city, full of people selling junk).


Chefchaoen, blue town full of old men dressed like wizards.

From there we did a short riding day to Fes where we stayed a couple of days in the medina (another old walled city, full of even more people selling even more junk), trying to avoid being overcharged for basically everything.

After Fes my enthusiasm level for Morocco was waning.  Too many rude touts trying to get us into restaurants or convince us to come to some tannery for free, and then asking us for money.  Too much junk for sale at hundreds of stalls all selling the same cheap crap that’s probably made in China anyway, and too much overpriced, bland tasting food.

Then we went to Agoudal in the High Atlas mountains and things started to improve.  We ate lunch in a tiny town on the way up and were impressed with the flavours in the tajine, and more impressed with the price.   This was followed by a night in a Kasbah looking hotel at 2400m altitude, where we further sharpened our Moroccan negotiation skills.

Turns out that everything here, literally everything, is up for negotiation.  Even a cup of coffee.  There is the inflated tourist price on a menu ($3), the haggled tourist price ($1) and then the actual price ($0.50).  Understanding this has been helpful.

typical small town in the High Atlas mountains, they really like brown here.


the minaret (place where old men scream verses from the Koran into megaphones 5x per day)

It was so cold overnight in Agoudal that in the morning the bike was covered in a thin layer of ice.  Fortunately the sunny morning took the chill out of the air and we set off, leaving the sealed roads behind for what would be 3 days of brilliant off road riding in some amazing mountain scenery.

As this is a motorcycle trip, I’m going to indulge in some boring motorcycle related commentary… The 90/10 situation.  90% of the time the SuperEnduro (Betsy) is not the best bike to be riding…  She is not a great touring bike.  She is a terrible city bike.  She isn’t much of a single track bike, although we give it a nudge from time to time.  And with offroad tyres, she isnt much of a road bike either… But for 10% of the time, on mountain or desert tracks, Betsy is totally sublime.  Morocco has overwhelmingly been full of that 10% of the riding roads that are so much fun, so rewarding to ride, that it makes the other 90% of the time not matter at all.  I think you get the idea, I’m having a ball over here :)))

As I’ve written here more times than I recall, the pictures don’t do it justice, but you get the gist…

donkeys bringing wild thyme down from the mountains

the donkeys here are adorable

 

typical farming plot in the Atlas

So bring it on Morocco! This could be our last big offroad hurrah on Betsy, I’m going to make it one to remember 🙂

Love to all back home xxoo

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